Retail fraud continues to cause problems for consumers

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A member of the Red Hacker Alliance in Dongguan, China in August 2020 monitors cyberattacks around the world. Hacking increased during the pandemic and the war in Ukraine – Copyright AFP/File Noel Celis

According to data presented by AtlasVPNAmazon is the most spoofed retail brand on phishing websites, with more than 1,633 suspicious sites detected in the last 90 days.

Some of these sites have already been taken down, either by the crooks themselves or by various security measures. However, as of July 2022, no less than 897 websites were still online.

The data for research was taken from CheckPhish, a phishing and fraud scanner, which uses deep learning, computer vision, and NLP to simulate how a person would review, understand, and render a verdict on a suspicious website .

In particular, the data reveals that more than 1,633 phishing sites posing as Amazon have been detected in the last 90 days and the fact remains that almost 900 of these sites are still accessible. Additionally, Walmart is the second-most-imitated retail brand, with 427 total site detections, 109 of which are live.

Times of highest fraud are when Amazon special days occur, such as Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, and Amazon Prime Day, as well as during and during the Christmas period. These are apparently the most opportune times for criminals to trick consumers into visiting fake sites, which can look almost identical to the real ones. Fraudsters can even use Google Ads to rank well in Google searches.

After Amazon, the most imitated retail brand is Walmart, with 427 phishing sites detected in the last 90 days, of which 109 are still operational. Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, is the third most-imitated brand on phishing websites, with 398 detections in the last 90 days, nearly half of which – 174 are still alive .

With online retail fraud in general, scammers use the latest technology to create fake retailer websites that look like real online retail stores. They may use fancy designs and layouts, and possibly stolen logos.

URLs that contain extraneous words or characters (most stores only use their brand name in web addresses) or unusual domains, for example, .bargain, .app, or a foreign domain instead of .com or .net, are also of concern.

In addition to consumer caution, retailers can reduce their chances of being hit by retail fraud by investing in high-level identification software. This allows retailers to thoroughly verify the identity of any customer and set up “alert” systems to alert them to any signs of suspicious activity.

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